Bedard keeps adding to legend, has 11 points in two games . . . Lambert scores in Seattle debut . . . Rebels complete sweep of Oil Kings

Like Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, the legend of Connor Bedard continues to grow.

On Friday night in Regina, Bedard ran his two-game total to 11 points as the ReginaPats beat the Saskatoon Blades, 7-4.

On Sunday, in his first game back after helping Canada win gold at the World Junior Championship, Bedard had four goals and two assists as the Pats beat the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 6-2.

Last night, he struck for three goals — his sixth WHL hat trick — and two assists to lead Regina past Saskatoon.

Bedard, the No. 1-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s rating that were released Friday, also went over 200 career points. He now has 203 points — 87 goals and 106 assists — in 107 career regular-season games.

Keep in mind that he won’t turn 18 until July 17.

(Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was at Friday’s game and filed this story.)

This season, Bedard has 75 points, 34 of them goals, in 30 games. He is tied for the WHL lead in goals, with F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels, and leads the league in assists and points. All this despite having missed 11 games while with the Canadian national junior team.

Oh, he also ran his point streak to 29 games. He actually was blanked in his first game of the season, but has at least a point in every game since then.

With 11 points in his two most-recent games, Bedard now will prepare to face the Portland Winterhawks in Regina tonight.

You would like to think that referee Kyle Rehman — yes, a product of the WHL’s officiating ranks — ended up on whatever kind of carpet the NHL has for its officials after his decision to flat-out ignore a sucker-punch to the head during a game on Thursday night.

Look, the Vancouver Canucks bring enough on themselves without getting stiffed by the stripes.

In this one, the Canucks were visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The home team had a 5-3 lead late in the third period. But the Canucks closed to within one at 17:52 while on a PP and with their goaltender on the bench.

Then, during a stoppage with 41 seconds remaining in the period, there was a gathering at the Tampa Bay net. After play had been halted, Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev clearly drilled an unsuspecting Vancouver F Connor Garland on the chin. Tampa Bay players were upset that Garland had tried to poke free a puck being held by G Andrei Vasilevskiy.

If you watch the video, you will see Rehman enter from the left. He was right there and didn’t make a call. Thus, the Canucks didn’t get a PP and ended up losing, 5-4.

On Friday, Sergachev, in the first season of an eight-year, US$68-million, was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

As for Rehman, well, the NHL — a league that pretends to be serious about eliminating head shots from its games — isn’t at all transparent when it comes to its officials so we may never know if he was disciplined.


John Matisz has taken a look at the trade deadlines that the three major junior hockey leagues recently manoeuvred their way through. There is lots here, including the WHL not allowing teams to trade draft picks that are more than four years away. . . . Give the piece a read right here.


The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars still haven’t been beaten in regulation time. They ran their record to 33-0-3 with a 6-1 victory over the host Weyburn Red Wings on Friday night, after beating the Notre Dame Hounds 9-6 in Wilcox, Sask., on Thursday. The North Stars are to meet the Bruins in Estevan tonight.



F Brad Lambert scored in his debut with Seattle and was named the game’s first star as the Thunderbirds skated to a 3-2 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. Lambert, who had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, was assigned to Seattle by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. He started on the right side with LW Reid Schaefer and C Jared Davidson. . . . In Moose Jaw, G Connor Ungar won his 20th game this season by stopping 42 shots to lead the Warriors to a 4-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle is 3-2-0 on an East Division trip that winds up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Portland is 2-3-0 on its eastern swing and will wrap it up tonight in Regina. . . .

D Stanislav Svozil returned to Regina’s lineup and had four assists in a 7-4 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. He was playing his first game after having captained Czechia to a silver medal at the World Junior Championship. . . . G Rhett Stoesser blocked 34 shots to lead the host Red Deer Rebels to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The season series is over now, and Red Deer won all nine games. . . . Andrew Peard, the Oil Kings’ radio voice, notes that F Loick Daigle, 20, who was claimed off CHL waivers this week, became the first Quebec born-and-raised player to play for the team in modern franchise history. Daigle scored Edmonton’s lone goal. . . .

F Tyson Laventure’s 13th goal of the season, just 47 seconds into OT, gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 4-3 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars. F Blake Swetlikoff, who was acquired from Spokane prior to the trade deadline, had four assists. . . . F Carter MacAdams had a goal (7) and an assist in his game with Calgary after coming over from Prince George at the deadline and the Hitmen beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 6-3. The Broncos had three Wards — D Mason Ward, D Sam Ward and F Matt Ward in their lineup. “With all three of them in the lineup tonight, I may have to go strictly with first names for the Wards,” tweeted Craig Beauchemin, the Broncos’ radio voice. . . .

D Olen Zellweger (12) and F Ryan Hofer (24), both whom were acquired by Kamloops from Everett on Tuesday, scored in the first period and the Blazers went on to beat the host Silvertips, 6-3. . . . Everett got two goals (26) and an assist from F Jackson Berezowski, who had four goals and two assists in a 9-3 victory over host Spokane on Wednesday. . . . G Braden Holt turned aside 29 shots to lead the host Victoria Royals to a 4-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. Holt is 4-0-1, 1.57, .951 since coming over from Everett on Dec. 27. . . . F Robin Sapoušek, an 18-year-old Czech, made his WHL debut with the Royals. . . .

F Hunter St. Martin had a goal (3) and two late assists as the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. F Dallon Mellon (10) tied the game at 12:45 of the third period and F Cayden Lindstrom (10) got the winner at 16:59. . . . F Chase Bertholet scored twice (18), one on the PP and the other while shorthanded, to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. F Ty Thorpe, the Giants’ new captain, scored twice (23). He was named captain after F Zach Ostapchuk was dealt to the Winnipeg Ice.


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When do fans get welcomed back to arenas? . . . Second thoughts for some NBAers? . . . BCIHL won’t start before Jan. 15

John Matisz of The Score spent time talking with “five experts from the fields of epidemiology, infectious diseases, and virology.” The conversations dealt with the NHL and its proposed return to play, hub cities, positive tests and a whole lot more. . . . If you’re a hockey fan, or just a sports fan, this is interesting stuff, and it’s all right here. You will want to read this to its conclusion, because the final question is: “Would it be wise for the NHL — or any other sports league, for that matter — to welcome fans back into arenas before a vaccine is readily available?”

The NBA’s back-to-play plan calls for 22 teams to gather in Orlando, Fla., starting on July 7, with its championship final possibly running through Oct. 13. Players would be required to stay in their bubble without family or friends until at least Aug. 30. . . . But now some players are talking about not reporting. Malcolm Brogdon, a guard with the Indiana Pacers who sits on the Players Association Executive Committee told The J.J. Redick Podcast this week the he has “talked to a few guys that are super-interested in sitting out, possibly. . . . Some guys are gonna say, for health reasons and the long-term effects that we don’t understand about COVID, I want to sit out. Other guys are gonna say, the black community and my people are going through too much for me to basically be distracted with basketball. . . . I think it’s a matter of perspective, (but) guys are gathering to really talk about and dive into the idea of not playing.”


The U of Houston suspended all voluntary workouts on Friday after six student-athletes tested positive. The six were symptomatic and have been placed in isolation while tracing is undertaken. . . . It’s not known what sports the athletes are involved with, but the football and basketball teams had been cleared to begin workouts. . . . In advance of athletes returning, the school had decided to test only those who were symptomatic, rather than everyone who was coming back. . . . As of Friday evening, according to USA TODAY, 11 U.S. universities had student-athletes test positive. . . .

The Boston Bruins revealed on Friday that an unnamed player has tested positive for COVID-19 although he didn’t display any symptoms. He was tested prior to entering the NHL team’s practice facility, but has since tested negative twice. . . .

The 99-member Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association has cancelled its four fall 2020 national championships — golf, men’s and women’s soccer, and cross-country. . . .

A Romanian soccer league game between visiting Botosani and Universitatea Craiova was postponed on Friday after a member of Botosani’s medical team tested positive. . . . A Saturday game that had China Targoviste at Dinamo Bucharest also was postponed after Dinamo had a staff member come up positive. . . .

Six of the teams in baseball’s American Association are planning to open a 60-game regular season on July 3. That includes the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who will play, just not on their home field. The Chicago Dogs, Fargo-Moorehead RedHawks, Milwaukee Milkmen, Sioux Falls Canaries, St. Paul Saints and Winnipeg are going to play in hub cities. Two teams each will be assigned to Fargo, Milwaukee and Sioux Falls. The Goldeyes will play out of Fargo. . . .

Baseball’s New York-Penn League announced on Friday that the start of its 2020 season is being delayed indefinitely. It also has cancelled its All-Star Game. . . . The 14-team league is a Class A short-season league. Its season was to have opened on June 18. . . .

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported on Friday that “two people involved in the game — one described as a major league pitching coach and one a 40-man roster player — have contracted COVID-19, multiple sources told The Post. No one would name the people who contracted the virus. But those aware of the situation say the pitching coach had the virus weeks ago and is now recovered. The 40-man roster player was described as having contracted the virus more recently, but with the belief that he has not infected anyone else involved in the game.” . . .

The PGA Tour Champions event scheduled for Calgary, Aug. 24-30, has been cancelled. The City of Calgary has revoked event permits through Aug. 31. That figured in the decision, as did various travel restrictions.

Headline on the Los Angeles Times’ website on Friday: L.A. schools police will return grenade launchers but keep rifles, armored vehicle.


The five-team B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League has announced that its season won’t start before Jan. 15 “due to safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.” . . . According to a news release, the league has approved a tentative 12-game regular-season schedule, along with a modified playoff structure. . . . From a news release: “Individual BCIHL teams are permitted to explore exhibition game opportunities for the fall semester within the boundaries of their institution, facility, and BC Hockey and Hockey Canada Return to Play protocols.” . . . The league has teams at Selkirk College in Castlegar, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Trinity Western University in Langley, the University of Victory and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

With live games starting to re-appear on your TV, and with the NBA and NHL seemingly headed in that direction, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, makes no bones about the fact that he doesn’t want to hear from fans who aren’t in attendance.

After a brief rant about how using mannequins or inflatable dolls as stand-ins for fans diminished the “total intellectual capital” of humankind, he wrote:

“I assume you are wondering at this point what might be worse than something that drains the inventory of human intellectual capital. Well, the idea of piping in crowd noise because there are no live fans to provide spontaneous crowd noise would fit that bill. The compelling thing about sports is that it is real; what is happening on the field or the court or the pitch or the ice is not some fakery or fantasy; it is there and it is happening in real time. Piping in ‘fake noise’ destroys that compelling element.”

Hey, he’s correct!


Here’s The Sports Curmudgeon closing Friday “by asking if this ever occurred to you: How did the people on Gilligan’s Island stay so happy episode after episode after they ran out of whatever supply of toilet paper they had on board?”


And here he is with his Thought for the Day, this one from Mark Twain: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

Adam Stuart has signed on as an assistant coach with the Cranbrook Bucks, who are preparing for their first BCHL season. Stuart, 31, spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the Calgary-based EDGE school’s midget prep team. In Cranbrook, he’ll work alongside Ryan Donald, the Bucks’ general manager and head coach. . . . Stuart’s brother, Derek, is the general manager and head coach of the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

Scott Cunningham has left the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits after working as their assistant general manager and assistant coach. Cunningham spent six years in Brooks. . . . “I look forward to starting a new career and also being able to spend more time with my family,” Cunningham said in a news release. . . . Prior to joining the Bandits, he spent eight seasons as head coach of the Northern Pacific Hockey League’s Helena Bighorns.


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